100 books like Lethe

By Harold Weinrich, Steven Rendall (translator),

Here are 100 books that Lethe fans have personally recommended if you like Lethe. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Memory, History, Forgetting

Guy Beiner Author Of Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

From my list on forgetting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Guy Beiner specializes in the history of social remembering in the late modern era. An interest in Irish folklore and oral traditions as historical sources led him to explore folk memory, which in turn aroused an interest in forgetting. He examines the many ways in which communities recall their past, as well as how they struggle with the urge to supress troublesome memories of discomfiting episodes.

Guy's book list on forgetting

Guy Beiner Why did Guy love this book?

A landmark philosophical tome, which argues for the ‘imbrication of forgetting in memory’. The disentangling of the complex relationships between history, memory and forgetting raises ethical questions about abuses of memory and interrogates the connection between forgetting and forgiving.

By Paul Ricoeur,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memory, History, Forgetting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A landmark work, "Memory, History, Forgetting" examines the reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, revealing how this symbiosis influences both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative. A momentous achievement in Ricoeur's career, this book provides the crucial link between his "Time and Narrative" and "Oneself as Another", and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation.


Book cover of How Modernity Forgets

Guy Beiner Author Of Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

From my list on forgetting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Guy Beiner specializes in the history of social remembering in the late modern era. An interest in Irish folklore and oral traditions as historical sources led him to explore folk memory, which in turn aroused an interest in forgetting. He examines the many ways in which communities recall their past, as well as how they struggle with the urge to supress troublesome memories of discomfiting episodes.

Guy's book list on forgetting

Guy Beiner Why did Guy love this book?

A concise and lucid sociological treatise that relates forgetting to the transitions and rapid changes of contemporary urban life, which has eroded the ways in which societies traditionally remembered the past.

By Paul Connerton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Modernity Forgets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why are we sometimes unable to remember events, places and objects? This concise overview explores the concept of 'forgetting', and how modern society affects our ability to remember things. It takes ideas from Francis Yates classic work, The Art of Memory, which viewed memory as being dependent on stability, and argues that today's world is full of change, making 'forgetting' characteristic of contemporary society. We live our lives at great speed; cities have become so enormous that they are unmemorable; consumerism has become disconnected from the labour process; urban architecture has a short life-span; and social relationships are less clearly…


Book cover of Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age

Guy Beiner Author Of Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

From my list on forgetting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Guy Beiner specializes in the history of social remembering in the late modern era. An interest in Irish folklore and oral traditions as historical sources led him to explore folk memory, which in turn aroused an interest in forgetting. He examines the many ways in which communities recall their past, as well as how they struggle with the urge to supress troublesome memories of discomfiting episodes.

Guy's book list on forgetting

Guy Beiner Why did Guy love this book?

Recognising that modern digital technologies, by preserving too much information, undermine the essential role forgetting has played throughout history, this book presents a forceful argument for countering violations of privacy by upholding the ‘right to be forgotten’.

By Viktor Mayer-Schönberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Delete as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we've searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all. In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger traces the important role that forgetting has played throughout human history, from the ability to make sound decisions unencumbered by…


Book cover of A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past

Guy Beiner Author Of Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

From my list on forgetting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Guy Beiner specializes in the history of social remembering in the late modern era. An interest in Irish folklore and oral traditions as historical sources led him to explore folk memory, which in turn aroused an interest in forgetting. He examines the many ways in which communities recall their past, as well as how they struggle with the urge to supress troublesome memories of discomfiting episodes.

Guy's book list on forgetting

Guy Beiner Why did Guy love this book?

A fascinating collection of miscellanea, which constitute ‘a thought experiment seeking out places where forgetting is more useful than memory’. Thoroughly entertaining and full of eye-opening anecdotes.

By Lewis Hyde,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Primer for Forgetting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We live in a culture that prizes memory - how much we can store, the quality of what's preserved, how we might better document and retain the moments of our life while fighting off the nightmare of losing all that we have experienced. But what if forgetfulness were seen not as something to fear, but rather as a blessing, a balm, a path to peace and forgiveness?

A Primer for Forgetting is a remarkable experiment in scholarship, autobiography and social criticism. It forges a new vision of forgetfulness by assembling fragments of art and writing from the ancient world to…


Book cover of The Unknown Socrates

Armand D’Angour Author Of Socrates in Love

From my list on the life, death, and thoughts of Socrates.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have studied the ancient world for over 50 years and have found that there are always new things to discover. Everyone thought that all that was known about Socrates had already been said, so I was excited to discover new evidence for his relationship with Aspasia - a woman of extraordinary influence and intellect - hiding in plain sight. I am a Professor of Classics at Oxford University and Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Jesus College, Oxford

Armand's book list on the life, death, and thoughts of Socrates

Armand D’Angour Why did Armand love this book?

This book provides a series of translations of ancient texts relating to the life of Socrates, raising questions about his earlier trajectory among other things. The scattered sources gathered in this volume tell a very different story about the philosopher from that normally obtained by concentrating almost exclusively on his trial and death.

By Bernhard Huss, Stephen M. Trzaskoma, William M. Calder , Marc Mastrangelo , R. Scott Smith

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unknown Socrates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Socrates (469 399 B.C.) is one of history's most enigmatic and intriguing figures. He is often considered the father of Western philosophy, yet the four most famous accounts we have of him present a contradictory, confusing picture.

Just who was Socrates? Was he Plato's brilliant philosopher, at times confounding and infuriating, morally serious and yet ironic; the ever-worldly man, sometime mystic, and uncommon martyr? Or did Plato conflate Socrates' views with his own startling genius, as Aristotle suggests? Was Socrates instead the less impressive, more mundane man whose commonsense impressed the laconic Xenophon? Or could Socrates have been the charlatan,…


Book cover of The Hawk in the Rain: Poems

Steve Griffin Author Of The Things We Thought Were Beautiful

From my list on nature poems to make you think and feel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing poems since an inspirational period of study in Stirling in my twenties, when I did a lot of hill walking in the Scottish Highlands. For me, poetry that doesn’t move you, that doesn’t make you feel, is just words on a page. I love poems that make you shiver as they incongruously bear the full load of life’s mystery. I like all kinds of poetry but have a special place reserved for nature poems, poems that find the heart and soul in the landscape, rivers, and wildlife.

Steve's book list on nature poems to make you think and feel

Steve Griffin Why did Steve love this book?

The first collection by former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes includes one of the most stunning poems about the connection between poet, pen, and nature in the form of "The Thought-Fox." Hughes has a pared back, often disturbing vision of the world that seizes your attention. If you like this don’t stop, there are plenty of other wonderful books by Hughes, especially his retelling of the "Tales from Ovid" and "The Birthday Letters," his poems about his relationship with his first wife, the equally brilliant Sylvia Plath.

By Ted Hughes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hawk in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published in 1957, Hawk in the Rain was Ted Hughes's first collection of poems. It won the New York Poetry Centre First Publication Award, for which the judges were W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Marianne Moore, and the Somerset Maugham Award, and it was acclaimed by every reviewer from A. Alvarez to Edwin Muir. When Robin Skelton wrote, 'All looking for the emergence of a major poet must buy it', he was right to see in it the promise of what many now regard as the most important body of work by any poet of the twentieth century.


Book cover of Ovid

Adrian Murdoch Author Of Rome's Greatest Defeat: Massacre in the Teutoburg Forest

From my list on the Roman Empire’s defeat at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, classical historian, and journalist. While there is no shortage of Roman historians in Britain and the US, I have long felt that English-speaking historians have had a blind spot as far as Roman Germany goes. Fascinated by the Battle of Teutoburg Forest for many years, while there were numerous accounts in German, it frustrated me that there was no general account of what happened in English. So I wrote it! I was clearly not alone in my interest in Roman Germany and have presented a number of documentaries on the battle on the History Channel and National Geographic since. 

Adrian's book list on the Roman Empire’s defeat at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest

Adrian Murdoch Why did Adrian love this book?

For those who like their conspiracy theories, it is hard not to be seduced by Ovid and David Wishart’s hard-boiled detective Marcus Corvinus.

Commissioned to bring back Ovid’s ashes, the author links the exile of the poet Ovid by the Emperor Augustus to the loss of the three legions under Varus. The book is notable both for the real sense that it gives how the defeat became one to be avoided in the polite society in Rome, but also for its generally sympathetic portrait of the Roman governor. Varus is corrupted and betrayed by Arminius, but he is not wholly incompetent. 

By David Wishart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ovid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In AD8, Augustus banished the poet Ovid to Tomi, on the Black Sea. In spite of repeated appeals by his friends in Rome for the sentence to be revoked, he died in exile ten years later.

No one knows why Ovid was banished.

The most convincing explanation is that Ovid was involved somehow with the emperor's granddaughter Julia, who was exiled the same year for immorality. However, Julia's sexual partner was sentenced to nothing worse than social ostracism. Her husband, on the other hand, was executed shortly afterwards for treason ...

Why should the witness to a crime be punished…


Book cover of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

Justin Martin Author Of A Fierce Glory: Antietam--The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery

From my list on for experiencing the vivid reality of the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

My specialty is American history, meticulously researched, but delivered in a narrative style that’s akin to fiction. My latest book, A Fierce Glory, is about Antietam, a battle that occupied a single day in 1862, yet remains one of history’s most consequential events. Of course, there are countless military histories of Antietam–or any Civil War battle, for that matter–focusing on troop movements and tactics. I wanted to get at the emotional heart of this epic showdown: the confusion, terror, sadness, along with some startling and selfless acts of heroism. To do so, I drew inspiration from some of my favorite fictional works.

Justin's book list on for experiencing the vivid reality of the Civil War

Justin Martin Why did Justin love this book?

This fifth pick isn’t fiction. But like the best fiction, poetry can pierce through to the very essence. Although shaggy poet Whitman was the furthest thing from a soldier imaginable, he was deeply involved in the war effort nonetheless. After the Battle of Fredericksburg, Whitman traveled to Virginia to find his wounded brother. He then chose to remain in Washington, DC, nursing wounded soldiers. Whitman’s war-time experiences gave rise to some of the finest poems in Leaves of Grass such as “The Wound-Dresser,” “Come Up from the Fields Father,” and “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim.”

By Walt Whitman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Library of America edition is the biggest and best edition of Walt Whitman's writings ever published. It includes all of his poetry and what he considered his complete prose. It is also the only collection that includes, in exactly the form in which it appeared in 1855, the first edition of Leaves of Grass. This was the book, a commercial failure, which prompted Emerson’s famous message to Whitman: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” These twelve poems, including what were later to be entitled “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric,” and a…


Book cover of The Metamorphoses

Leopoldine Prosperetti Author Of Woodland Imagery in Northern Art, c. 1500 - 1800: Poetry and Ecology

From my list on trees in literature and art.

Why am I passionate about this?

"Ut pictura poesis", as goes painting so goes poetry is a pithy phrase that sums up the truth that a picture is mute poetry and poetry is a speaking picture. I have studied the history of this tradition from many angles and I have derived from it the term “lyrical naturalism” which I use to discover what is charming or captivating in the world of plants. As an art historian, well-read in European literature, I regard myself as a member of the environmental humanities which increasingly is the home of many academics eager to participate in the great debate on how to honor the natural world in literature and art before it is too late.

Leopoldine's book list on trees in literature and art

Leopoldine Prosperetti Why did Leopoldine love this book?

There is no book as rich in tree imagery as Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It is a book of fables many of which are about trees. Best known, I believe, is the story of Apollo and Daphne, in which a nymph is transformed into a laurel tree. The fable that I use in the book is the story of Pan and Syrinx, painted collaboratively by Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. It explains the mythical origins of the sedges and reeds that fringe the riverbanks.

By Ovid, Hendrik Goltzius (illustrator), A.S. Kline (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Metamorphoses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Metamorphoses - Ovid. A translation into English prose by A. S. Kline. Published in entirety with mythological index and illustrations by Hendrik Goltzius.

In the Metamorphoses Ovid retells stories from the Greek myths, arranging them in roughly chronological order, from the origins of the world to his own times. His charming and graceful versions, full of life and interest, express his humanist approach, his feeling for pathos, and his endless curiosity and delight in human affairs. Each tale involves a transformation of some kind, and the whole collection provided a potent source of motifs and images for later art,…


Book cover of Love: A History

John Cottingham Author Of In Search of the Soul: A Philosophical Essay

From my list on the human search for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my career writing and teaching philosophy, working on early-modern philosophers, especially that most controversial and enigmatic figure, René Descartes. In recent years my main interest has been in the philosophy of religion, focusing on grand traditional questions about the meaning of life, and on the spiritual dimension of religious thought and practice. I have argued for a ‘humane’ turn in philosophy, meaning that philosophical inquiry should not confine itself to abstract intellectual argument alone, but should draw on a full range of resources, including literary, poetic, imaginative, and emotional modes of awareness, as we struggle to come to terms with the mystery of human existence. 

John's book list on the human search for meaning

John Cottingham Why did John love this book?

This astonishingly rich and beautifully written survey shows how deeply love is involved in what has always been one of my main philosophical preoccupations – the human search for meaning. Simon May reveals love as the ‘harbinger of the sacred,’ while at the same time warning of how often it bears the burden of unrealistic and misconceived expectations.

By Simon May,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An illuminating exploration of how love has been shaped, idolized, and misconstrued by the West over three millennia, and how we might differently conceive it

Love-unconditional, selfless, unchanging, sincere, and totally accepting-is worshipped today as the West's only universal religion. To challenge it is one of our few remaining taboos. In this pathbreaking and superbly written book, philosopher Simon May does just that, dissecting our resilient ruling ideas of love and showing how they are the product of a long and powerful cultural heritage.

Tracing over 2,500 years of human thought and history, May shows how our ideal of love…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Ovid, Plato, and Nietzsche?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Ovid, Plato, and Nietzsche.

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